The Flexographic Technical Association presented its Environmental Excellence Award for Innovations in Sustainability to Avery Dennison Materials Group at FTA’s annual forum on April 27. Avery Dennison was recognized for the CleanFlake™ portfolio, a collection of label materials developed to advance the recycling of PET containers.
“We understand that industry-transforming innovations begin with a view of the entire value chain — from responsible sourcing to end-of-life analysis,” said Darrell Hughes, vice president and general manager of Avery Dennison Materials Group North America. “We worked closely with stakeholders including raw material suppliers and reclaimers to solve a very real challenge: improving the recyclability of PET containers. We are proud to be offering the industry a solution that will allow more high-quality recycled PET to enter the supply stream.”
Direct printing, paper labels and standard pressure-sensitive labels applied to PET bottles tend to lower the recycling efficiency and the quality of recycled PET. In 2010, 1.5 billion pounds of PET were collected for recycling in the United States, yet reclaimers reported yield losses ranging from 24.4 percent to 32.2 percent due to contamination by labels, adhesives and other components — amounting to a loss of over 40 million pounds of bottles.
CleanFlake is a patent-pending adhesive technology that “switches off” when submerged in a caustic bath so the label cleanly separates from the PET flakes. Although these labels adhere firmly to PET bottles or containers during use, they detach readily in a conventional recycling facility and rise to the surface in the float/sink separation phase, allowing clean PET flakes to sink for easier reclamation.
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